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The Case of the Missing Moon Rocks (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Joe Kloc , The Atavist
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $1.99

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Book Description

Joseph Gutheinz is on a mission to save the moon. Decades ago, astronauts brought back 850 pounds of rocks from their lunar journeys; the U.S. gave some away as “goodwill” gifts to the world’s nations. Over time, many of them disappeared, stolen or lost in the aftermath of political turmoil, and offered for millions on the black market. Gutheinz, first as a NASA investigator and then the leader of a intrepid group of students, has dedicated his life to getting them back. Author Joe Kloc tells a wild story of geopolitics, crime, science, and one man’s obsession with keeping the moon out of the wrong hands.

Joe Kloc is a former contributing editor at Seed magazine and researcher at Wired. His writing and illustrations have appeared in Mother Jones, Scientific American, and The Rumpus.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Of the 842 pounds of moon rocks that the Apollo missions brought home, all are kept in NASA vaults. All, that is, except a couple hundred "Goodwill Moon Rocks." These 1.5 gram pebbles were mounted on plaques and gifted to states, nations, and one man, Walter Cronkite. One of the very few things that Americans are not allowed to own is a moon rock collected by NASA missions. (Technically, NASA just loaned the rock to Cronkite.) Yet con men routinely attempt to sell moon rocks, and many of the Goodwill rocks, laden with Space-Race history and valued at five million dollars each, have fallen out of state hands. In this Kindle Single, history and science writer Joe Kloc follows NASA senior special agent Joseph Gutheinz as he quixotically tracks down the missing moon rocks. –Paul Diamond

Product Details

  • File Size: 144 KB
  • Print Length: 47 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: The Atavist (February 19, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007BGZNZ8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,870 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncovering lunar larceny February 23, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Welcome to the world of space-crime, where the bad guys are intent on picking NASA's loosely guarded pockets by embezzling money budgeted for the Mir space station, by trafficking in artifacts from the Challenger disaster and most of all by selling lunar rocks brought back to Earth by Apollo astronauts.

During 17 lunar missions between 1961 and 1972, the Apollo program landed six spacecraft on the moon. Twelve Apollo astronauts remain the only humans to have walked on a celestial body other than Earth. They brought back nearly 900 pounds of lunar material and most of those rocks remain locked in NASA vaults.

As a goodwill gesture and to promote world order and peace, President Nixon in 1973 had one particular moon rock known as Sample 70017 cut into fragments and given on behalf of America to all U.S. states and 135 countries around the globe.

The "Goodwill Moon Rocks" each weigh in at an insignificant 1.5 grams, but they've become a huge obsession of Joseph Gutheinz, who has become a modern-day Don Quixote in his quest to recover some of those missing rocks, which over time have been lost, stolen or simply disappeared. When they do turn up it's usually on the Black Market and at asking prices in the millions.

Gutheinz wants the lunar artifacts returned where they belong. Operation Lunar Eclipse remains his most daring and successful sting. Posing as a wealthy collector, he was able to recover and return a missing rock to the Honduran government. A Florida fruit wholesaler had been offering to sell the rock for $5 million.

In his story, reprinted from the February 2012 issue of "The Atavist," Kloc follows Gutheinz in his erratic quest and also heads out on the trail of some of the other missing rocks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun little book February 24, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Enjoyable little book and a former NASA investigator who becomes obsessed with moon rocks.

Not as great as "Sex on the Moon", but a fascinating tale of someone who wants to find out the whereabouts of all of the moon rocks that Nixon gave out around the world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars My comment on the book October 19, 2012
By Eddie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book was bought by me for its title and relation with the Moon Rocks, but the most interesting part is how detectives investigate difficult cases
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short but interesting October 4, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is less a book than an extended journalistic account of the behind-the-scenes search for missing and misplaced moon rocks. Don't expect a lot of atmosphere - The Right Stuff this is not. Still, some interesting facts about the fate of some of the moon rocks that were given as presents by President Nixon during the Apollo program.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, well researched September 16, 2012
By TDub
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a great way to spend 99 cents. Not a long novel, but I got a lot of enjoyment out of this little book. I thought it was money well-spent. Its a very quick read, but very interesting. Even the end notes kept me captivated...very short, but worth a dollar.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sherlock in Space February 24, 2012
By Katie
Format:Kindle Edition
In this must-read piece, writer Joe Kloc profiles Joseph Gutheinz, a former NASA senior special agent turned guerilla-detective, long-obsessed with tracking down and returning moon rocks that were originally given away as "goodwill gifts" but are now sold on the black market for millions of dollars. The story involves a surprising (and famous!) mystery donor, South American dictators, a fruit-seller who dreamed of bigger things, and secret agent escapades so mind-boggling they feel clipped from a detective novel - but they're real. Kloc is both an excellent reporter and storyteller, and his piece is laugh-out-loud witty, but also explores deeper issues (why doesn't NASA care about retrieving their moon rocks?) and paints a fascinating portrait of Gutheinz, a modern-day Don Quixote.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Lacks direction, payoff, or interest May 6, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Kloc's story of the missing Moon rocks is well researched (perhaps exhaustively) and shows every dint of hard reportage. It lacks only interest and excitement to keep it moving. There is no single "whodunit" that unites the disparate acts of the longform reportage, and there is no particular payoff. Perhaps that is because the stakes are so small--even though the material being stolen is rare (at least on Earth), there is less of a mystery involved than in any single Carmen Sandiego escapade.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting February 15, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Always follow the money! Makes you wonder what else our country gives away to leaders that don't care! Fun Read:)>
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
I found the story very interesting, I did not know that NIxon gave away so many rock that were collected from the moon. and of course so many pieces missing...
Published 10 months ago by Christopher Shatley
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Read
If you have read the Playboy article about the missing moon rocks like I have then this is a wonderful little read. Once you get into it it's almost impossible to finish. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Anthony J Sullivan
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative
This is the kind of text I expect from Kindle Singles. I was aware of the problem, but now have a better undestanding.
Published 16 months ago by Jajadeh
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun short read
Not everyone is going to find a story of missing moon rocks entertaining but the story of how some of the most prized possessions on earth have gone missing makes for a great short... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Mark Ferguson
2.0 out of 5 stars Moon Rocks
Not sure how an entire book could have been written about such few stories. I guess it was different but really didn't hold my interest.
Published 19 months ago by Ronald Hubbard
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
A contemporary reporting job on a little know side show of the space age. There is some intrigue, a little criminality, and the story of a really determined person trying to track... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars weak short story
This was disappointing. I was not sure where the book was going and ended feeling that there was no reason to have read the book.
Published 23 months ago by James Daley
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Single Lunacy
This is exactly why Kindle Singles were created. I read a little article in AP news , then a few months later saw this single. Read more
Published on June 27, 2012 by D. harshbarger
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